An Irish Man Interprets the World

The Pain of Painlessness

Imagine having a condition which meant you are unable to feel pain. It sounds blissful.

Yet, for Steven and his brother, this was far from the case.[1] When he was 4-5 months old, he began chewing on his tongue as he was teething, unable to sense the pain this would...

If Jesus had an iPhone on Palm Sunday…

What would the Social Media universe have looked like if the people watching Jesus riding into Jerusalem were busy on their phones? Well, if anyone ever goes back in a time machine and gives Jesus’ disciples iPhones, maybe these sort of things are what you would see…

 

It all started when Jesus, en route to Jerusalem, tweeted two disciples an odd...

Our Society, built on Slavery and Racism

On Sunday, 28th October 1787, an English politician wrote in his diary, “God Almighty has set before me two great objects, the suppression of the slave trade and the Reformation of society.” This man was William Wilberforce, who committed himself to fighting against an institution that had been integral to European economies for centuries.

Racism for profit

As...

What does a Day of Happiness look like for Indrakhala?

This is Indrakhala. She lives in the beautiful country of Nepal. She has her home next to the mud homes of her extended family.[1]

Yet the key word here is ‘next to’.  In this photo she gently smiles, but, in reality, her life is far from beautiful. Years ago, she was forced to stay in a shelter made out...

St Patrick, champion of Human Rights?

Ireland has only 0.064% of the world’s population. Yet it has international influence that far exceeds its size. Today, St Patrick’s celebrations involve over 150,000 people in New York City alone,[1] and around 34 million Americans consider themselves to have Irish heritage, over 7 times the population of Ireland itself.[2]

St Patrick’s early adulthood was one...

Why does an extra X chromosome make such a difference?

Sunday was International Women’s Day.  It adopted the strapline “Make it Happen”. It’s a clear statement that enough talking has been done – it’s time to ensure gender equality.   What is gender? When we’re born, whether we are male or female depends on whether we end up possessing a slightly...

The Polar Bear: Key to saving the world?

Maybe you missed it on Friday, but it was International Polar Bear Day.

What does the Polar Bear make you think of? Cute, fluffy animals? A landscape of snow, glistening in the sun in a frozen utopia? Nostalgic Christmas cards? For some, the humble creature, which lives in the Arctic region, has become a symbol of world transformation.

2015 may be the...

Could you patent the sun? The Beginning of the End for Polio…

The 1952 polio epidemic killed 3,145 and paralysed 21,269 men, women and children in the US.  Two years later, on 23 February 1954, Virologist Jonas Salk brought a glimmer of hope to Pittsburgh.  On this day,  61 years ago, the first large-scale inoculations of children began today. Just over a year later, the vaccine was declared by the University of Michigan to be...

What is justice? The Galapagos oil spill…

Let me pose an unusual question: What do cats, avocados and oil tankers have in common? Answer: All three have become threats to the unique environment of the Galápagos Islands, part of Ecuador, located in the Pacific Ocean. Made famous by the work of Charles Darwin, they are home to unique species of penguin, marine iguana and giant tortoise, as well as 25,000...

Happy Old New Year…

Today would have been the date St Patrick, Jonathan Swift and William Shakespeare celebrated as New Year’s Day. You and I might say it’s the 14th January, but according to the Julian calendar, today is 1st January.

For some Orthodox Christian communities, yesterday was still 2014, and today begins 2015. the Julian calendar, introduced by Julius Caesar in 46 BC, became the...

Is this a distantly-related cousin?

Do we have the right to eradicate diseases?

180 years ago today, 7th January 1835, HMS Beagle dropped anchor on the Chonos Archipelago. Charles Darwin was on board. He would spend the next number of weeks conducting research. By November 1859, Darwin had published ‘On the Origin of Species’. His book transformed the study of the natural...

Ground-breaking research

World Soil Day: Ground-breaking Research

How are you celebrating “World Soil Day”? I suspect that, for most reading this blog, it wasn’t high on your agenda.

There is a global community of 60,000 scientists who dedicate their lives to the study of soil. They’re constantly questioning what the rest of us take for granted. For most of us, soil is simply the thing in which “stuff”...

“The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis but rather the feeling of being unwanted, uncared for, and deserted by everybody.”

– Mother Teresa

Carrying around the cure to AIDS?

Potential in your Pocket: Carrying around the cure to AIDS?

Today is World AIDS day. Whatever you do to count down to Christmas, spare a thought for countless HIV-positive individuals would give anything they owned to be cured in the next 24 days. AIDS is at present incurable, and severely weakens the immune system, making the victim open to a deadly cocktail of diseases and cancers that ordinarily the immune system prevents. Imagine living in a...